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Looking for Mr. Goodbar

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  4,846 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews
Looking For Mr. Goodbar, By Judith Rossner

Paperback book published by Pocket Books, April, 1976
Mass Market Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 3rd 1977 by Pocket Books (first published 1975)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 21, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Gary Wyatt
”To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

 photo Seasons_zpsfae2e484.jpg

Professor Martin Engle broke off his four year affair with his student Theresa Dunn by quoting Ecclesiastes to her. Like a lion circling a herd of gazelles probing for the weakest member he had decided she was the right one to sustain his ego. She was just coming out of her ugly duckling stage and emerging from the shadows cast by the wings of her swan like sister. She is self conscious of her body
Julie Ehlers
Dec 26, 2014 Julie Ehlers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction


I'm a little conflicted. I'll be back.


Okay, I’m back.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar is a tough book to review. It gives away nothing to say it’s based on the real-life murder of Roseann Quinn, and this element makes it difficult to view the novel purely as a novel.

That’s unfortunate, because as a novel this book really, really works. It’s a bit dated, of course—that’s inevitable. But the language is simple and compelling, the characters are
Nov 18, 2011 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
What I remember most about this book is how much it made me blush, and made my ears turn beet red. This would have been no issue, except for the fact that I spent the week reading it on my commute to work on a busy train. Each day that week I took for granted that my fellow commuters hadn't either (a)read the book or (b) watched the 70s film starring Diane Keaton. Ugh! Boy was I wrong. On one of the last days that week, after I'd nearly missed my stop with the last 23 pages hanging in the balanc ...more
Apr 01, 2016 Ted rated it liked it

This isn't a review. It's personal history, and a reflection on memory

A couple days ago I finished reading Jean Rhys' Good Morning Midnight. As I read the last few pages I had vague flashbacks to this book.

Luckily those flashbacks did not dovetail with Rhys' ending.

But I couldn't think of the name of this novel. Nor could I remember when exactly the flashbacks dated to. There was a visual among them, I was standing in our basement (where all our books were for several years). I was holding a boo
Nov 12, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written in 1975 so it's a bit dated but it holds up really well. It's based on a true story and I believe at one time there was a movie or a made for tv series about it so I knew the gist of the story but had never read the book.

Theresa Dunn is a beloved school teacher who loves her job but want no children of her own. She is very anti-marriage and not really capable of having relationships. She has a TON of personal baggage. To blow off steam she goes to bars and picks up men. Us
Jan 13, 2009 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could find a few reviews of this book from when it was originally published. I am sure that by not living through the women's lib movement & the sexual revolution, I am missing something from this book.

However, as a person who grew up in the 80's, this book dooesn't strike me as a "precautionary tale." Rather, I really, really dislike Theresa Dunn. This is a woman who rarely speaks up for herself & always lets others make her decisions for her. Then, she becomes upset when her
"Talking was so much more complicated than making love...fucking, she should call it, since it was hard to see how anything she did with him could be about love. To talk with people you had to ignore the way you felt and speak from the front of your face...or else go through the effort of distilling those feelings into something that made some kind of sense, was acceptable in some way. That was what words did, really, make some kind of order out of the dark jumble of feelings and perceptions and ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a while I had a hard time picking up this book. The beginning was difficult for me to get through, but once the story got rolling it was pretty interesting. There was even some surprisingly lovely writing. Although the ending was quite abrupt, I suppose that's understandable given what happens.
Nov 26, 2007 Stephy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not
I learned that even really badly written books on nasty subjects can make the best seller lists and stay there a long time. Many people have the judgment of turnips.
Feb 17, 2009 Cori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw the movie, starring Diane Keaton long ago and it stuck with me. The book was just as dark and dreary. Is it a 1970's statement about what happens to a reluctant feminist? Or is it simply the story of one confused woman. I think it can be read either way.
This is one of those books, like Valley of the Dolls or Peyton Place, that you know better but you just can not stop reading it. You can feel your brain softening and your eyes and personality growing dull and you feel like you're being naughty because most of the story is really quite simply just about sex.

Written in 1975, just a few years after the beginning of the sexual revolution, and chock full of women's lib ideology, schoolteacher Theresa Dunn is the woman out searching not for love but
Ronald Wise
Jul 22, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when it was a paperback best-seller in 1976 and I was 21. It packed a real punch then, but this time it whacked me in an entirely different way. In a cultural and technological sense this book has become somewhat dated, but the big difference in my reaction has more to do with the water that has passed under my bridge in the meantime.

For readers who have not experienced the hopes and frustrations of the nightlife pick-up scene, it might seem that this is the story of an un
Virgilio Machado
Judith Rossner has impeccable literary credentials. [...] Looking for Mr. Goodbar is so good a read, so stunningly commercial as a novel, that it runs the risk of being consigned to artistic oblivion. That would be a mistake. The sureness of Judith Rossner's writing and her almost flawless sense of timing create a complex and chilling portrait of a woman's descent into hell that gives this book considerable literary merit.

This dismal tale is told in the co
Erin Biegel
Nov 29, 2012 Erin Biegel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While "like" or "love" may not be the correct verbs to describe my feelings about this book, I will say that it was so powerful that it left me in kind of a stupor for almost a week after I finished it. I then passed it on to my boyfriend, who had the same reaction. It's so deeply psychological, it manages to bore into your unsuspecting mind and emotions, and once it's there, it's hard to shake.
♥ Marlene♥
One of my favourite books and I want to read again. Going to see if I can find it on my shelves.
Sara Pauff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zoe Crosher
Beginning section describing the murder from the cowboy's POV is totally unnecessary and seems like a cinematic embellishment. I almost stopped reading. But as the story progresses, I realize it is part of this 70s/80s genre of attempting-to-be-liberated women that in the end gets punished for this new found sexual freedom (the worst in this case = death.) Think Erica Jong, Judy Bloom's Women, etc.
Mar 05, 2008 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
okay, saying i ''loved'' this book is not quite right--but i have to say it's brilliantly written. it's a perfect representation of the dark side of the sexual revolution of the '60's and '70's yet still rings true as a representation of the insecurities that still haunt women.
Jun 26, 2017 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theresa Dunn , twentyseven, single, living in Manhattan, not looking for love, but for herself in all the wrong places. Her poor relationships with men and women doom her.
I remember reading this book years ago when I was a bit too young for it (13 lol) and it has stuck with me in a way. How sad her life was and the shocking ending. Classic.
Jan 18, 2015 Quadrophenia718 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even nearly 40 years after it was published, this book continues to incite a decent amount of debate whenever anyone sits down to talk about it, and I guess I can sort of see why. I mean, I know that it can be read like as indictment against the liberalized sexuality of the late sixties -- woman discovers sex, woman DIES -- but ultimately I feel like that is perhaps a bit too simplistic.

Theresa is lost. She's lost from the beginning of the book and she's lost at the end of it, and the real trage
Aug 26, 2016 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel, a sensation when published at the height of the sexual revolution of the 70’s, holds up extremely well. Based on the real life case of a young schoolteacher named Rosanne Quinn, who in 1973 was murdered by a man she’d picked up in a singles bar in NYC, Goodbar enlarges upon the story, summing up the era with insight and heartbreaking psychological acuity. Rossner’s heroine, named Theresa, enjoys her independence and the sexual freedom of the times, but recoils from any real intimacy ...more
Sep 24, 2014 Marty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those couldn't-put-it-down novels. The feminist issues it addresses are perhaps not as fresh or as wildly political as they once were, but they are still relevant. Through Theresa, a young, outwardly nonchalant but inwardly vulnerable woman, Rossner addresses the 'battle between the sexes,' the pressure to be 'perfect' and the devastating effects of both on women like Terry in the 1970s.

Terry suffered from polio at a very young age, something that could have been lessened if her
Ashley Scott
Feb 22, 2015 Ashley Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, 2015
I don't know what to think about this one, if I'm being honest. I didn't dislike it, I found it interesting - only I have extremely mixed emotions when it comes to Theresa Dunn, ranging from empathy to anger and back again.

To keep myself from going insane and thinking the book to death, I think the important question to ask, after reading this, is not WHY Theresa becomes/is the way she is - because I have as hard of time sympathizing with her as I do resenting her - but rather just to accept th
Lisa Greer
Aug 03, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am speeding through this one, and 2/3s in, it is getting 5 stars. Yes, I'd seen the movie and it was harrowing. I will never forget it. But, wow, what riveting, compelling writing. I like the close character study and psychological character insights in this novel. I think Rossner does a nice job of showing the emptiness of modern life for so many women... and that was in 1975... at least the paperback I am reading. It is utterly chilling in so many ways, and it is even more painful reading it ...more
Jun 22, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good solid book about the potential consequences of promiscuity before the age of AIDS.

People who live in this generation might not understand or appreciate this book. After all, we are living in a world without boundaries where sexting happens with people you've never met as easily as it does with someone you know, married people are fair game in the dating arena, and senior citizens are the fastest growing population to contract HIV.

Does anyone know of a book that speaks to this generation
Cheryl Anne Gardner
I think I read my Mom's copy of this book when I was like twelve or something. This book scared the crap out of me, and that fear blossomed into a lifelong love of psycho-dramas. I love to re-read it every ten years or so and it still gets to me. Inspired by the life and murder of Roseann Quinn in 1973, it is one of the top books in the Literary Crime Fiction arena along with In Cold Blood in my opinion.
Leslie Shimotakahara
Loved it! This novel particularly resonated with me because like Theresa Dunn, I suffered from scoliosis as a teenager, and it also left me with a sense of disfigurement that played out - to less devastating effects - in my relations with men.... My full review can be read at my blog,
Nov 15, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this one on a lark. Well, wow. I couldn't put the damn thing down. Terry broke my heart. James broke my heart. This book twisted and squeezed my guts. And the last two pages literally terrified me. Not sure what else to say except I hope I can sleep tonight.
Mar 31, 2015 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just EHHH for me. Really didn't like Theresa much. Yes, she had a rough time as a kid, but she just wasn't a very nice person. Still .... not sure she deserved all she got. Kind of an odd story. Guess it might have been different had I read it back when it first came out.
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Judith Perelman Rossner was an American novelist, best known for her 1975 novel Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which was inspired by the murder of Roseann Quinn and examined the underside of the seventies sexual liberation movement. Though Looking for Mr. Goodbar remained Rossner's best known and best selling work, she continued to write. Her most successful post-Goodbar novel was 1983's August, about t ...more
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“When she was naked she generally found her body rather beautiful, although she could never in a million years have admitted this to anyone. In clothes, in front of other people, she felt ashamed of her weight, her sloppiness, always something, but it was more because of what she felt they saw when they looked at her. Now” 0 likes
“need to talk about my mother,” one of the women said. Her name was Susan. She was blond, very pretty, a stockbroker. Her mother was dying of cancer. “I have this horrible feeling of never having even known her. All my life, my father . . . was like a god to me. I worshipped him. I couldn’t understand why he ever married my mother. He was so special and she’s just . . . I always thought she was just this ordinary, everyday . . . I had no sense of her dignity, her nobility, really. She raised five kids and kept a house and gave him the support he needed and totally subjugated herself to him, to all of us, really, to our needs, and now when I think . . . She’s even” 0 likes
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